Pitchers lead Arizona baseball to 4-3 victory over Utah
The Arizona baseball team played with fire Thursday night. But, thanks to a season-high 13 strikeouts by the Wildcats’ pitchers, the UA was able to come away with a 4-3 victory over Utah at Hi Corbett Field.
The one-run win ends a six-game losing streak by Arizona (16-11, 1-6 Pac-12) and gives the Wildcats their first conference win of the season.
Ace pitcher Konner Wade (2-2) struggled early but managed to keep Arizona afloat against a sluggish Utes offense ranked last in the conference.
“[Wade’s] performance was OK,” head coach Andy Lopez said. “He’s been a little too aggressive — still not what a Friday night guy looks like.”
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Baseball lost 9-2 to San Francisco Sunday afternoon. The Cats won the series overall 2-1.
Wade pitched six innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out eight batters.
A back and forth battle throughout, the Wildcats were able to come away with the one-run win after shortstop Kevin Newman scored on Zach Gibbon’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Closer Mathew Troupe entered in the eighth inning and shut the door on Utah (12-11, 2-5) with his fifth save of the season, allowing no hits in two innings in the process.
The Utes constantly threatened, reaching scoring position in six of the nine innings. Ten total Utes reached second or third base against the Arizona pitchers.
Still, Utah could only put up three runs against Wade.
“Early, I think I was just pressing too much,” Wade said. “There were a lot of good things to take from today, but there are still some things I need to improve on.”
The Wildcats offense finally turned on the switch in the fourth inning following a one, two, three inning by Wade that kept the score at 2-0. Arizona got three hits off Utah’s starting pitcher Mitch Watrous (1-1), tying the game up at two apiece.
Similar to Utah, the Wildcats also had plenty of chances to blow the game open but continued this season’s theme of leaving runners on base.
Arizona left 13 men stranded, including a chance in the fifth inning to take a monstrous lead with the bases loaded. Instead, first baseman Ryan Koziol flied out to left field.
“Tonight we were able to get that extra run that we were missing in the last two series,” second baseman Trent Gilbert said. “But at the same time we left a bunch of guys on base.”
Freshman relief pitcher Tyger Talley (1-0) earned his first career victory after coming in for relief in the seventh inning with no outs and a runner on first. Talley picked up where Wade left off by teasing the Utes, allowing them to reach third base, only to strike out two batters to get out of the jam.
With the game tied at 3-3, Gibbons singled home his fellow freshman Newman to take what would end up being the deciding, one run lead.
“Some [freshmen] are getting older, and some are still in the survival stage,” Lopez said. “But that’s the thing when we recruit these young guys. ‘Hey, you’re going to play,’ and the quicker you get old the better off it is.”
Thursday was Arizona’s fourth one run game in the past seven. However, this time around, Arizona was able to come away with the win.
“There’s been a lot of close games and it’s been tough, but this is a step,” center fielder Johnny Field said. “We got the first one under our belt, and we still didn’t play all that great tonight, so we’re going to try and build off this and keep the momentum going.”